Tuesday, 05/17/1994 The Arlington Theatre, Santa Barbara, CA

Tuesday, 05/17/1994

The Arlington Theatre, Santa Barbara, CA


Saturday morning… I just had the strangest thing happen. I started listening to this show and just as Maze was finishing up I heard the music echoing in way I have never heard before. I could not figure out what was going on, so I paused the show to see if it was on the recording or what… It was my iphone ringing in the other room! My ringtone is the closing section of Maze. HA! It’s a great ringtone if you want it click here: iphone version or mp3 version.  

Back to the task at hand. Great start to the show. First set is chock full of spaces for Page to shine on his birthday. Suzy brings the piano heat, Maze the Pay Jorgan heat, SOAMule more piano heat, and Coil to close out!! If that didn’t clue you in that it was Page’s night, then the Happy Birthday tease in Trey’s Maze solo should have. If not, the Coil slaps you in the face with it!!

But that glosses over the non-birthday highlights of the first set. If I Could is beautiful once again. The acoustic segment is very cool, if hard to hear on the recording. Melt is intense. And Coil is near perfect until it’s spoiled by the birthday celebration. Classic Phish, really.

Second set opens with a scorching RunJim with Trey messing around with the Wah pedal for an interesting segment. Very cool, indeed.

Then there’s the Tweezer. Let me say this: when I was in middle school (during the Nancy Reagan “just say no” era) and had no reason to think anything about drugs was funny, I was given two tapes that became staples of my Walkman for years to come. One was License to Ill (full of drug references) and the other was Cheech and Chong’s Greatest Hit. I know this Cheech and Chong tape like the back of my hand. I can recite the thing if you like. So, needless to say, this Tweezer is instantly one of my favorite Tweezers of all time. Not because of the Tweezer, but because of the Earache My Eye!! HELLSYEAH!!!! It’s not like they really play the song, but Fish does sing the lyrics, so it totally counts. Either way, I love this shit! Then they come out of that segment at lighting speed before bringing it back down to the Tweezer slow-down ending we all know and love, only it doesn’t really end they way you expect. It almost goes into a little blues jam until Trey starts up Lifeboy (which is also really lovely with a long slow build and beautiful piano work from Page) Great Tweezer, indeed.

The set closes out with another really short but great Slave. Then they send ‘em home with Highway to Hell. Can’t complain one bit!

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, 05/17/1994

The Arlington Theatre, Santa Barbara, CA

Soundcheck: Jam, My Mind’s Got a Mind of its Own

Set 1: Suzy Greenberg > Maze, Mound, If I Could -> Scent of a Mule, Ginseng Sullivan, Dog Faced Boy, Split Open and Melt, The Squirming Coil

Set 2: Runaway Jim, Glide > Tweezer -> Earache My Eye -> Tweezer > Lifeboy, Uncle Pen, Big Ball Jam > Sample in a Jar, Hold Your Head Up > Love You > Hold Your Head Up, Slave to the Traffic Light

Encore: Highway to Hell

Notes: Ginseng Sullivan and Dog Faced Boy were performed acoustic without microphones. Ginseng also featured Fishman on washboard. Page’s piano solo in The Squirming Coil was cut short when Trey brought out a birthday cake for Page and attempted to lead the audience in a round of Happy Birthday. Similarly, Maze included Happy Birthday teases. Tweezer included the Phish debut of Earache My Eye.

Setlist courtesy of Phish.net.


Key tracks:





Monday, 05/16/1994 The Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

Monday, 05/16/1994

The Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

David “ZZYZX” Steinberg was on the Helping Friendly Podcast this week discussing, among other things, this very show. So, in honor of him, I’d like to point out that I have not seen a Buried Alive since 10/29/95. It’s time, Phish. I’m ready for it!! How about opening July 4th with it??

After the Buried Alive, this first set is sort of generic 1994 stuff. I can see why they skipped it on HFPod and dug right into the second set. The Stash is a standout, though. Man, Stashes have been great on this tour!

So, I think it makes sense to address zzyzx’s book here, given that I just listened to this interview. When I decided to do this project it was really because I believe 1994 is the year Phish became Phish. I said as much in my second-ever post here: “Bluegrass. 30+ minute jams. The Halloween tradition. In so many ways, 1994 defined what phish really became.

On the podcast, zzyzx basically says the same thing. His inspiration for writing the book was not so much that 1994 was the best year of Phish, but that it was a defining year of a band “on the precipice.”

All that said, I started reading the book and had to put it down because it quickly became spoiler-central for my project. The last thing I want is to have a zzyzx-colored predisposition to these shows. I will read it after summer tour is over for me.

Anyway… digging into this second set. I actually can’t believe I’ve never heard this before. Zzyzx says the Antelope was included on a Live-Bait release. Well, I guess I’m a bad Phish head. It’s not ringing any bells for me at all.

It gets interesting really quick, though. Hell yeah! The drop into BBFCFM really sneaks up on you, too. Then the rest of the ‘lope is astoundingly original. Great group improv the whole way… right up until Trey screws up the lyrics!

How they come out of that madness with Sparkle, I have no idea. But they do… and they earn a couple of great “Woohoo”s from some folks very near the tapers section! Sometimes I love AUDs!

This setlist could be a prime lesson to noobs on the difference between “>” and “->.” This second set features both! They definitely start Ice as Sparkle finishes, but it ain’t no “->.” Of course, It’s Ice features another stellar breakdown. This one is sort similar to the last. I’m lovin’ it, though. Page just owned these breakdowns!! Sofa king great!

Then the YEM is pretty standard right up until Trey’s solo which starts out strangely with some oddly sustained notes and builds not to a huge peak, but to a Louie Louie tease before Mike takes over for a short Bass jam. Nothing earth shattering here.

Then there’s one of things I have always loved about Phish… their desire to juxtapose heavy rock with classical beauty. My favorite moment in Fluffhead (besides, of course, the arrival) is when they come out of the fugue and land on a huge rock power-chord. This Amazing Grace sandwiched in between BBFCFM is prime Phish! Beauty and Ugly hanging out in close quarters! It’s one of the big elements that separates Phish from the other bands out there. I love this stuff! I wish I could hear the Grace a bit better on this recording, but that’s nothing new.

What a great second set and encore!

Now I’m listening to the wrap up on HFPod and it’s funny how different people see differently things. The discussion around 2001 is interesting. Not only were the versions from 93-94 really short, but they were, in fact, much shorter than even the Deodato version! And zzyzx doesn’t seem to remember that the introduction of 2001 in 1993 coincided with the introduction of the first “moving” lights in CK5’s rig. He has always matched the sweeping lights with the refrain of 2001. I hate to correct the master, but, then again, he said in the first segment of the podcast that he fully expects that kind of thing! HA!

Thanks for reading.

Monday, 05/16/1994

The Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

Set 1: Buried Alive > Poor Heart > Sample in a Jar > Divided Sky, Axilla (Part II) > Rift, Down with Disease > Bouncing Around the Room, Stash, Sweet Adeline

Set 2: Also Sprach Zarathustra > Run Like an Antelope -> Big Black Furry Creature from Mars -> Run Like an Antelope, Sparkle > It’s Ice > Julius > You Enjoy Myself, Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Amazing Grace, Big Black Furry Creature from Mars

Encore: Fee > Rocky Top

Notes: Sweet Adeline and Amazing Grace were performed without microphones. Antelope included a Simpsons signal at the beginning and All Fall Down and Oom Pa Pa signals during the jam. YEM contained a Louie Louie tease. The second set kept returning to BBFCFM, as the three verses were completely spread out. Trey sang the verses of Fee through a megaphone.

Setlist courtesy of Phish.net.


Key tracks:





Saturday, 05/14/1994 Montezuma Hall, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA

Saturday, 05/14/1994

Montezuma Hall, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA


Gonna be another busy day, but as I mentioned last night, today is my bride’s birthday, so I am determined to get my listening in while I work. I cannot put this off to the end of the day again.

So, I’m in. Llama opener first thing in the morning? I’m awake, damnit. I’m awake!! Wilson with a fun, secret language boasting, intro, but, alas, no chant. It’s fun tracking this thing. I mean, by the end of the year there will be no more Wilson’s with fun intros… well, the chant is fun, I guess, but you know what I mean.

…and I thought I was in, but I’m just now getting to the Reba at 2:30pm. All work and no Phish makes me a dull boy! But this Reba is worth the wait. Yes, indeed. Then I love Trey’s banter about “our muddy-water, Mississippi, Vermont home” before they close out the set with a tight Bowie.

And the second set is exactly my type of Phish. Curtain opener always sets a nice tone, if you ask me. The Mike’s Groove is traditional with no real surprises, but it is fantastic. I should note how much I appreciate a traditional Mike’s Groove. I’ve seen Mike’s Song 36 times and I am Hydrogen only 7. It’s a stat that has urked me for years. I didn’t see a single H2 from 7/2/1994 through 12/30/99. And the 7/2/94 Mike’s was in no way “traditional.” So, suffice it to say I love an unadulterated Mike’s->H2->’paug.

When the ‘paug melts into TMWSIY; my heart melts with it. It’s such a lovely composition… and speaking of stats, I’ve only seen TMWSIY 4 times (well, 7 times at 4 shows, if you want to get technical). If they want to bust it out at SPAC this summer it’ll end a 19-year, 80+ show gap. I’ve given up hoping for such things these days. Shit, I never thought I’d ever see a Fuck Your Face and I’ve see a couple at this point. I can’t complain.

PYITE features Page on the Rhodes. That’s a permanent transition at this point. Sounds great, too. Then the Fast Enough is beautiful. Trey and Page sing the opening verses with the most delicate of tones. Then the energy kind of explodes by the time they get to the last refrains.

This show has a lot of quiet moments. It’s not something you can count on these days. The 3.0 crowd gets chatty during quiet moments (or maybe they’re just chatty and we can hear them more during quiet moments). But there were lots of shows like this one back in the smaller era, when the band senses an attentive crowd and they reward them with lots of quiet moments. I love it. Even the Lizards here starts out really quiet and mellow. Like their saying, “lean in… listen to this tale.”

And who doesn’t love a Bold As Love encore?? What a great show. So very different from the night before, but just as great. I’m loving this journey!

Thanks for reading.


Saturday, 05/14/1994

Montezuma Hall, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA

Set 1: Llama, Wilson > Down with Disease > Fee, Reba, Sample in a Jar, My Sweet One, Ginseng Sullivan, David Bowie

Set 2: The Curtain > Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove > The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu > The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, Punch You In the Eye > Fast Enough for You, The Lizards, Cavern

Encore: Bold As Love

Notes: Wilson included Oom Pa Pa, Simpsons, and Key Change signals. Trey sang the verses of Fee through a megaphone. Ginseng was performed acoustic and without microphones. Weekapaug included a Divided Sky tease and was unfinished.

Setlist courtesy of Phish.net.


Key tracks:





Friday, 05/13/1994 Hayden Square, Tempe, AZ

Friday, 05/13/1994

Hayden Square, Tempe, AZ

Well, today just plain got away from me. I’ve already had dinner before starting this show… and since my lovely wife (who’s birthday is tomorrow) hates the Phish, I’m stuck back in the office listening on headphones while she watches her shows. This is literally the first time this project has felt like a chore. Make the most of it, I say!

RunJim opener? Sure, why not… but alas, it’s not followed by Foam on this night. Instead we get a 10 minute Ice? It’s Ice has been blowing me away every time I get to it on this run. Each seems to outdo the last. This one is certainly the biggest yet. Again, it’s heavily piano driven, but that downplays what all is going on there. Must be heard!!

Then another rockin’ Julius. Dare I say the energy is back. I think last night was an off night for the band. Maybe it’s because Tempe’s got that great college crowd that has always been good for Phish. Maybe it’s because the show was outside. I don’t know… but it’s good to hear.

Stash is a keeper, too. And another absolutely beautiful If I Could. Then there’s the sub-10-minute Slave which is somehow still really amazing. Tight as hell. Wastes no time at all. Wow. I can see the Timer’s disapproval over the length, but I would argue this Slave is better than most 3.0 Slaves that are much longer.

Also, did you ever notice how some of Page’s piano breakdowns in Suzy are more inspired than others… This seems to depend on the night, too. Like, even within a tour there will be Suzy’s where he just takes it somewhere and others where he seemingly phones it in. Anyway, this is one of the good ones, for sure!

Second set starts off with a stutter step from Trey. Then when he starts the first verse the reverb on his voice is set way too high at first. Woah! Then the jam just rips. When I say the energy is back, I mean it.

The Melt is out there, too. Melts have been great, too. I guess it’s almost like playing a hot track off the new album when they played Melt on this tour. I mean, it’s on there. This one kind of reminds of the Hoist Melt jam, actually. It builds and builds like it’s gonna eventually crash, but it never does. That last one eventually broke down into something much quieter and slower. This one is just relentless.

Then McGrupp… aaaahhhh. Not gonna type during this. Just gonna sit back and enjoy it! Yes. And as it fades… drums drop me right into Peaches!! Nice.

Then, honestly, I could write a whole blog post about this YEM. For starters, there’s the whistling in the chill section that sounds just like the whistling in the “Lassie, come home” section of the big Bowie at the end of the year. It’s like foreshadowing!! Then something funny must have happened with the tramps – I think Brad must have set them up and Trey was just like “Yeah, I can’t do that.” Something.

But the jam here is really where it’s at. Classic YEM build from quiet to raging followed by a sort of unique slap-happy Mike segment. Greatness.

How do you bring a show like that home? With a trio of covers everyone loves! Purple Rain is always a classic. GTBT speaks for itself (Also, I kinda wish Phish had played GTBT at Jazzfest while Robert Plant was doing his thing over on Gentilly). And Freebird to close out. Tough to beat, really.

This was a scorching show. It’s almost midnight as I finish it up. Honestly, I sort of thought I’d cheat a bit tonight and skip through some of this one. I’m exhausted. I literally had NO time to listen to Phish today until really late. I was dreading it. But then I started listening to this great AUD recording through my sweet Grados and everything melted away… much like it does at a show. I found that I couldn’t bring myself to skip anything… not even Bouncin’… it just sounded too good.

… and so to bed. Thanks for reading!

Friday, 05/13/1994

Hayden Square, Tempe, AZ

Set 1: Runaway Jim, It’s Ice > Julius, Mound > Stash, If I Could > My Friend, My Friend > Slave to the Traffic Light > Suzy Greenberg

Set 2: Chalk Dust Torture, Bouncing Around the Room, Split Open and Melt, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters > Peaches en Regalia > Scent of a Mule, You Enjoy Myself, Purple Rain > Hold Your Head Up, Good Times Bad Times

Encore: Free Bird

Notes: Suzy included a Layla tease from Page. YEM included a Mission: Impossible theme tease from Page a Spider-Man theme tease from Mike, and a Mind Left Body jam.

Setlist courtesy of Phish.net.


Key tracks:







Thursday, 05/12/1994 Buena Vista Theater, Tucson, AZ

Thursday, 05/12/1994

Buena Vista Theater, Tucson, AZ


It’s Monday – that means calls. Calls. More calls. I’m busy! Listening is happening a song or two at a time if I’m lucky. That said…

Catapult opener? Mike sings a capella. Was the rest of the band slow to get to their places so Mike decided to fill the time? Anyone know the story behind this? Only know Catapult opener per phish.net. Things that make you go “Hmmmm.”

After that, the first set is fairly standard. Rockin’ DwD. I like how Foam emerges from the Axilla instead of it’s usual spot after RunJim. Then, during Foam, Trey holds one note for a readicculusly long time. The band builds and builds behind him, but he just holds strong. That’s the kind of thing that sucks you in, even when you’re multitasking. It requires your attention. It can’t be ignored.

The rest of this show has sort of flown by without much notice, to be honest. Not that it’s bad, but it certainly doesn’t ooze energy like the Paolo Soleri show two nights earlier. Take a look at this picture of the venue. Hard to imagine this wouldn’t inspire the band like the Paolo Soleri…


There are some fun moments, though. I always love hearing Lizards. The 2001 is all intro. The Antelope is short but sweet. The quick little transition from Fluff to Lifeboy is pretty cool. The Bring It On Home teases are fun. The Contact>BBFCFM is a throw-back to encores of years past.

So, it wasn’t a bad show, I’m sure. Unfortunately, it didn’t get my full undivided attention. It’s Monday and I’m way too busy for Phish today. Sorry! At least I listened. It happened.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 05/12/1994

Buena Vista Theater, Tucson, AZ

Set 1: Catapult, Rift, Down with Disease > Fee > Maze, Axilla (Part II) > Foam, Bathtub Gin -> The Lizards, Sample in a Jar

Set 2: Also Sprach Zarathustra > Run Like an Antelope > The Horse > Silent in the Morning > Uncle Pen, Fluffhead > Lifeboy, Possum, Hold Your Head Up > Love You > Hold Your Head Up, Contact > Big Black Furry Creature from Mars

Encore: Amazing Grace, Rocky Top

Notes: Catapult was played for the first time since February 10, 1993 (133 shows). Trey sang some of the verses of Fee through a megaphone. Fluffhead and Possum contained Bring It On Home teases.

Setlist courtesy of phish.net.


Key tracks:





Tuesday, 05/10/1994 Paolo Soleri Amphitheatre, Santa Fe, NM

Tuesday, 05/10/1994

Paolo Soleri Amphitheatre, Santa Fe, NM

Saturday for me! I had a shit-ton of chores and errands to get done after being gone the last two weekends, but they are done! Time to listen to some Phish! High-energy Buried Alive opener?? HELLSYEAH!!! Perfect! Then they rip right into a fiery Poor Heart. Man, they must have had some energy after being cooped up in the tour bus for two days straight. The only problem I see with Austin, TX is it’s a long drive from here to anywhere interesting.

But if you want interesting, you really need look no further than the Paolo Soleri Amphitheatre! Holy cow! I would have loved to see Phish at this place. Hell, I’d love to see anybody at this place! Unfortunately, it looks like it’s been closed since 2010. There are tons of pics out there if you want to check it out. This one I found features Bela Fleck and the Flecktones onstage:


Back to my listening exercises. Gorgeous Divided Sky is an early highlight. This is a band inspired! Also, another funky-as-shit little breakdown in Ice. This one is strictly piano-driven from the get-go, but it is funky! Then another Melt that builds and build until it drops off a cliff. Interesting improv, to say the least. Another beautiful If I Could and a standard Cavern close out the set.

I’ve gotta believe the sun has set by the time this crowd is getting into this Maze. Then there’s the Wilson… You can tell Trey is clearly egging the crowd on to start the chant, but they don’t really know what to do so they start with just big “WOOOO” chants… but after a few rounds, someone must have helped them get to the “WILSON” chant. Here it is. This is the first since the Beacon chant… and the first where Trey clearly instigated it… I definitely remember Trey egging on the MSG crowd at the end of the year. I can really picture it here. Interesting! Definitely one of those little things I wanted to learn as I listen to this year of Phish.

I really try not to do a song by song review each time… But this set is chock full of highlights. The Reba jam starts out so mellow and quiet I had to turn it up just to hear what was going on. Beautiful, to say the least. The Julius is fire – even in the context of Julius. I mean, it’s just insanely high-energy. The Hood is everything you want in a Hood. Truly sublime and inspirational.

Then the acoustic segment is really beautiful. The Ginseng is cut from the recording, but the Dog Faced Boy is really sweet. And I’ve never heard a more attentive crowd for mic-free Phish. The harmonies are tight and perfect.

Then they take it all home with a short but intense Bowie and a Coil that leaves Page out there to shine.

Wow! I did not expect to so thoroughly enjoy this out of the way show. It makes sense, though. Phish always rewards the out of the way shows. I mean, there’s nothing “Bomb-Factory-out-there” on this night. But I would have walked out of this one grinning ear to ear.

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, 05/10/1994

Paolo Soleri Amphitheatre, Santa Fe, NM

Set 1: Buried Alive > Poor Heart > Sample in a Jar > Divided Sky, Axilla (Part II) > It’s Ice > Split Open and Melt, If I Could, Cavern

Set 2: Maze, Wilson > Reba, Julius, Scent of a Mule, Harry Hood, Ginseng Sullivan, Dog Faced Boy, Nellie Kane, David Bowie

Encore: The Squirming Coil

Notes: Ginseng Sullivan through Nellie Kane were performed acoustic.

Setlist courtesy of Phish.net.


Key tracks:





Sunday, 05/08/1994 The Backyard, Bee Cave, TX

Sunday, 05/08/1994

The Backyard, Bee Cave, TX


Let me start by saying the original Backyard was one of my favorite venues in the world. Unfortunately, it died a slow, painful, death at the hands of developers. By the time they “moved” it to it’s new location, it’s famous Hill Country views were blocked out by the likes of Best Buy, Michael’s, Lowes, etc. Watching this beautiful venue get swallowed was painful. I saw so many great shows out there… David Bowie, Phil and Friends (the Q), Allman Brothers, Willie Nelson, David Byrne… the list goes on.

Alas, I did not see Phish at the Backyard. I was not yet an Austinite. I can only imagine how great it was as I listen to this show today.

Another RunJim Foam opener gets no complaints here. The DwD has a nice little jam to it. Trey spits fire. I don’t know why I hated this song for so long, but I did. I’ve since grown to love these early versions.

The Stash is really cool, too. I think everyone would agree that Stashes from this era are all stellar. There’s just so much tension in them. Then the Coil outtro is beautiful, as usual. Plus Page ends it with a little blues flourish… never heard that before!

Set two opens with 2001 after a 14-show gap!! That is literally the longest gap in the song’s history. Wow! I wonder why they didn’t play it for a while there? I also wonder why they brought it back on this night.

Then comes this really intense Antelope. I remember seeing the Sugarbush Antelope at the end of summer and being frightened by the darkness that took over. This one is similar. It’s a scary Antelope… but so good!

There’s another really cool breakdown in Ice, too! While I wouldn’t call It’s Ice the song of the year in 1994, I would definitely say 1994 is THE year for It’s Ice. Every one I’ve heard so far is worth hearing. I didn’t really expect that coming into this project. It’s been a wonderful surprise every time! Julius, too. I know I keep mentioning it, but these early Juliuses (Julii?) are stellar!

Finally, the YEM is pretty cool. They kind of sneak into the vocal jam and sneak out of it by starting up Halley’s… which drops hard and fast into GTBT. Solid closing!

A great show… nothing on the night before, but I wish I was there, nonetheless.

Thanks for reading.


Sunday, 05/08/1994

The Backyard, Bee Cave, TX

Soundcheck: Loving Cup (intro), Nellie Kane (x2)

Set 1: Runaway Jim, Foam, Axilla (Part II) > Rift, Down with Disease > Bouncing Around the Room, Stash, The Squirming Coil

Set 2: Also Sprach Zarathustra > Run Like an Antelope, It’s Ice > Fee > Julius, Cavern > You Enjoy Myself -> Halley’s Comet > Good Times Bad Times

Encore: Sweet Adeline, Golgi Apparatus

Notes: Stash contained Cannonball teases. Trey sang the verses of Fee through a megaphone. YEM contained a theme from Mission: Impossible tease from Page and a theme from Shaft quote from Trey. Halley’s segued out of the YEM vocal jam. Adeline was performed without microphones.

Setlist courtesy of phish.net.


Key Tracks:






Saturday, 05/07/1994 The Bomb Factory, Dallas, TX

Saturday, 05/07/1994

The Bomb Factory, Dallas, TX

Does this show loom large for you, too? For years the words “Bomb Factory” were a code for everything we love about Phish. It was the promise of the Roxy Tweezerfest realizing its full potential. It was the exact show we knew Phish was capable of long before it happened.

The crazy thing is that it wasn’t a show I had heard about at all. Perhaps because I was out of school for the summer so I wasn’t on rec.music.phish when people were raving about it. Perhaps nobody really raved about it until the SBD of the second set made the rounds over the summer. For whatever reason, I had no clue this crazy show had happened until I ran into my buddy Jay Rosenblum at a Medeski Martin & Wood show and he handed me a tape, saying “Here. You need this.”

A little background… If you were a Phish fan living in Nashville in the mid-90’s, you probably knew Jay Rosenblum. He was the hub of the tape-trading community in Nashville at the time. I’d venture to say 75% of the tapes in my collection at one point were dubbed by his rig. He’d have nearly every show from some source within a month or two of the end of any given tour, no small task back in those days.

So, when Jay handed me an unsolicited tape and said, “You need this” I was very curious! Once I slipped that tape into the deck of my car, I’m not sure it left that spot for a solid year. This tape consisted of Set 2 from the Bomb Factory minus the encore, which was replaced by the Murat Gin from the previous summer. I listened to it non-stop. I know that tape so well that when I listen to the LivePhish release of this show I’m always thrown for a loop when it doesn’t fade out for the tape flip after the Digital Delay Loop Jam section.

Listening to the complete show today, in the context of this insane project, I’m actually really blown away by how good the first set is. It’s never been talked about much. I don’t think the first set SBD circulated before the LivePhish release. But it’s really good – better than anything the night before, imo.

A beautiful Horn with this cool little outtro that surprises me every time I hear it leads into a raging Divided Sky. The FEFY and If I Could are both stellar. The SOAM and SOAM combo is a treat, with the Melt really heading off the cliff at one point. And the Suzy is a barnstormer to close out the set.

But we all know why the first set gets slighted… It’s the stellar Loving Cup > Sparkle!!

No, really… This Tweezer is the greatest thing ever. Really. It’s fun, dark, bluesy, scary, amazing, crazy… it’s everything you want from Phish. It NEVER gets old to me. I could listen to this every day of 2014 instead of listening to the 1994 show 20 years later and still feel like I spent the year doing something worthwhile. At an hour and nine minutes total running time, it is surprising that it never passes into a single boring segment.

The opening 26 minutes of Tweezer before they finally land in Sparks is some of my favorite Phish exploration ever. And Sparks is literally the only tune left that I’m still chasing live. The only one I care about that I haven’t seen.

And when Spark fades into Makisupa, we’re still only half-way through this brilliant non-stop onslaught of Phish music. This is a band possessed. You can sense the “don’t even come up for air at any time” mentality going on here. By the time they are jamming the shit out of HYHU and transitioning into Tweeprise I’m spent. Every time I listen, even in the background, I’m spent by the end.

This set is exhausting. It demands a lot from the listener. I’m having trouble writing about it, honestly. I don’t really know what more to say. It’s the soundtrack to a vast swath of my life.

In my mind, it’s up there with Live/Dead, Waiting For Columbus, Live at Leeds, Paul Simon’s Concert in the Park, Sunshine Daydream, Stop Making Sense, The Song Remains the Same, Roxy and Elsewhere, Bongo Fury, P-Funk Earth Tour, Exit Stage Left, Wattstax, Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison, The Last Waltz, Live at the Fillmore East (Allmans, Derek and Dominoes, and Zappa/Mothers), James Brown Live at the Apollo, The Meters Uptown Rulers Live on the Queen Mary, Cornell ‘77, A Live One, The Woodstock Soundtrack, Townes van Zandt at the Old Quarter, Willie and Family Live,  and any other great live recording you know and love. It’s on that list.. and near the top. It’s that good.

I doubt anyone who has read this far has not heard this show. If not, WTF??!!?!? DO IT NOW!!

Thanks for reading.


Saturday, 05/07/1994

The Bomb Factory, Dallas, TX

Soundcheck: Jazz Jam, Dog Log (slow reggae version), Blues Jam

Set 1: Llama, Horn > Divided Sky, Mound, Fast Enough for You > Scent of a Mule, Split Open and Melt, If I Could, Suzy Greenberg

Set 2: Loving Cup > Sparkle > Tweezer -> Sparks -> Makisupa Policeman -> Digital Delay Loop Jam -> Sweet Emotion Jam -> Walk Away -> Cannonball Jam -> Purple Rain > Hold Your Head Up Jam -> Tweezer Reprise

Encore: Amazing Grace, Sample in a Jar

Notes: Horn ended with a brief, atypical jam. The jam after Walk Away included a Page solo, teases of It’s Ice and McGrupp, and a Simpsons signal. Amazing Grace was performed without microphones. This show was officially released as Live Phish 18.


Setlist courtesy of Phish.net.

Key tracks:



Friday, 05/06/1994 Tower Theater, Houston, TX

Friday, 05/06/1994

Tower Theater, Houston, TX

So, the spreadsheet is missing the first set of this show… as such, so is phishtracks and the Aquarium Project. These have been my sources for this project. Now is as good a time as any to give the kind folks behind these projects a shout out. Without them a blog like mine would be far more difficult to accomplish.

So, I am listening to Set 2 while I try to get out from under the hundreds of emails that have accumulated while I was in NOLA for Jazzfest. We’ll see how focused on the music I can actually be. Hopefully, tomorrow will be an easier day, as I cannot wait to get to the Bomb Factory show!!

First thing that really stood out was the Reba. Love a second set Reba, and this one does not disappoint. Then the Julius (if you’ve been following along, you know I’m going to comment on Julius) is really great. Rockin’ jam that peaks with fire!

Bike, I happen to know, is one of Fish’s favorites to come out front and sing. He’s the biggest Syd Barret fan you’re likely to meet. Finally, the Bowie sends everyone home on a high note.

It’s crazy to me that this tame show is just one night prior to the Bomb Factory show. That’s the context? That’s what led up to the most epic Tweezerfest ever? “WOW,” is all I can say.

Until tomorrow… Thanks for reading!


Friday, 05/06/1994

Tower Theater, Houston, TX

Set 1: Down with Disease, The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > AC/DC Bag, Poor Heart, My Friend, My Friend, Ya Mar, Stash, Esther, Chalk Dust Torture

Set 2: Maze, Golgi Apparatus, Uncle Pen, Sample in a Jar, Reba, Axilla (Part II) > Julius, Hold Your Head Up > Bike > Hold Your Head Up, David Bowie

Encore: Ginseng Sullivan, Free Bird

Notes: The Bowie intro included Oom Pa Pa, Aw Fuck!, and Simpsons signals and HYHU teases. The encore was performed without microphones. This show was originally scheduled for Houston’s Bayou City Theatre, but was relocated at the last minute to the Tower Theater.

Setlist courtesy of Phish.net.


Key Tracks:




Wednesday, 05/04/1994 State Palace Theatre, New Orleans, LA

Wednesday, 05/04/1994
State Palace Theatre, New Orleans, LA

It’s heartening to see things revitalized in New Orleans these days. I spent several hours last night in the beautifully renovated Saenger Theatre right across Canal St. from the State Palace. The Saenger along with the Joy represent the best of what can be done when people care enough to do it. Unfortunately, the State Palace is still sitting there in disrepair with an “available” sign hung by some real estate broker. I’ve gotta believe it will come back soon like its brethren.

This morning I’m up early despite my exhaustion. One more day at the Fairgrounds and Jazzfest 2014 is on the books. It’s been a long two weeks, and I’m not really sure how I’m going to settle back into the reality of life tomorrow. I need another week off to recover!

I did not attend this show. If you read yesterday’s post you know I had a final on this day. If you keep up all year, however, you’ll have a chance to hear about my first New Orleans Phish show in the fall.

The show starts with the staple RunJim Foam combo. Already in the quiet part of Foam you can hear how attentive this crowd was. Somehow I doubt that would be the case if Phish played a small NOLA show these days as most of us are older, chattier, and drunker now than we were in 1994.

The first major highlight is the Ice jam. What fun they were having with Ice on this tour! You’ve gotta hear this one! Page leads with Trey all over the wah pedal throughout. It’s intense!

Add Tweezer and Tweezer Reprise and this first set’s already a keeper. The Tweezer is great, too.

Second set starts with a bang and only gets better from there. What a great show. The third “horns show” of tour does not disappoint. Perfect compliment to my morning!

The crowd goes nuts when the horns come out during YEM. I love that shit! I wonder if they just skipped the tramps on this night. Nothing in the notes about a sub for the still gimpy Trey.

Julius and Wolfman’s both steal the show here! Wow! Just as good if not better than the earlier horns renditions from Burlington and NYC. Wolfman’s goes into another extremely fast high-energy jam. Magilla and Suzy are just icing on the cake.

Great show! Ready to hit the Fairgrounds one more day!

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 05/04/1994
State Palace Theatre, New Orleans, LA

Set 1: Runaway Jim, Foam, Sample in a Jar, It’s Ice > Sparkle > Axilla (Part II) > Tweezer > Lifeboy, Rift > Tweezer Reprise

Set 2: Run Like an Antelope, Bouncing Around the Room, You Enjoy Myself, Buried Alive, The Landlady, Julius, Wolfman’s Brother, Magilla, Suzy Greenberg

Encore: Caravan

Notes: It’s Ice included a Right Off (Miles Davis) tease. YEM through Caravan featured the Cosmic Country Horns: Michael Ray and Carl “Geerz” Gerhard on trumpet, Dave “The Truth” Grippo on alto sax, Tony Tate on tenor sax, Jerome Theriot on baritone sax, and Rick Trolsen on trombone. Suzy ended with a jazz jam involving a megaphone on Trey’s guitar and an electric screwdriver on Mike’s bass. Trey dedicated Antelope to his friend, who was, at that moment, giving birth. He recommended that she name the child “Marco Esquandolas.”

Setlist courtesy of phish.net.

Key tracks:
Then start with YEM and just listen to the rest of the show… Seriously!